I am very fascinated by some vintage trends, especially the 40s and 50s fashions. And I am of course happy when I can combine this interest with my passion for knitting. So in my collection of knitting books, I have required a few book with vintage patterns or patterns inspired by vintage patterns. And I found myself knitting more and more patterns from this historical period. (This pattern is found in “A stitch in time v. 1: Vintage knitting & crochet patterns 1920-1949″ by Jane Waller and Susan Crawford. And I am making it for the second time. Love this sweater.)
I like some of the ideas from the olden days, that we in our modern society have forgotten to some degree. We throw away a lot of clothes because we don’t like them any more, because they are too small/big or because they have holes and tears. And I am no exception to this behavior. But in the 40s and 50s, they could not just throw things away like we do today. In the 40s there was the war, and in the 50s people still experienced consequences do to WW2. If you made yourself a garment, you made it so it would last. If you grew tired of a knitted sweater you ripped it apart and made something else out of the yarn. Many of us buy cheap clothes that does not last long, throw them out, and buy new ones. I am a girl. A woman. So it is no surprise that another reason why I like that specific period so much, is because clothes from that era looks good on me. The style back then was so elegant and feminine. I also find it is easy to combine with todays fashion. I like taking elements of the 40s and 50s fashion and combine it with clothes I bought or inherited. Plus the narrow waist and full skirts associated with the 50s accommodate my body shape.
The 40s and 50s is, from a knitters point of view, a very interesting period. As mentioned earlier, people had to be creative because of the war in Europe. There are a lot of make-do-mend books from this period with tips to how to keep you family afloat. And of course they contains tips on how to reuse, how to repair and how to make new things from knitted garments. Here in Norway the “Marius” sweater was designed during the 50s. To this day it is the most knitted pattern i Norway. You can read more about the “Marius” sweater her. There are a lot of book today with patterns inspired or created from vintage knitting patterns. It is often better to make garments from these books, than choosing to use the original. This is because the sizes often can be all wrong. In 60-70 years the size and shape of people in the western world have changed, and during the reconstruction of vintage patterns, the designer have taken this into account. Another issue is the yarn. Many of the brands of yarn used in vintage patterns is discontinued a long time ago, or maybe the company don’t even exists anymore. In the newer books you the yarn info in the patterns are updated.
I know it was not much, but this was a small peek in to vintage knitting. If you are interested in this topic, you should check out Susan Crawfords patterns. I find many of her patterns irresistible. And on the site freevintageknitting.com you can find a lot of free vintage knitting patterns.